Friday, April 3, 2009

Felger, Bob & Shaughny Archives Part 1

I decided to combine the two blogs I have into a bigger one dedicated to anything and everything I'd like to share (and hear input about too). This article is one I wrote at the end of May last year during the Celtics' championship run.

According to Analysts, Green's Future Looking Blue

Here's an article I wrote when I noticed the lack of any respect the Celtics were getting from I don't know what the ESPN TV or Radio people are thinking, or any of the national media. I won't speak for them, but I will make a case to show the Celtics have a decent shot at winning it all.

According to Analysts, Green's Future Looking Blue

After a dramatic, come-from-behind win to clinch a berth in the NBA Finals, there was only one thing Paul Pierce could do: let the little kid in him out. It just took a little extra coaxing. An emotional quarter led to an even more so post-game celebration, which started long before the Silver Ball was handed to the Celtics ownership.

Immediately following the final buzzer, Pierce offered a handshake to his coach, Doc Rivers. As captain of this Celtics team, he has seen everything. Just one year ago, the Celtics were the second best team in the NBA Lottery, not at least the second best team in the NBA (possibly better if they play the way they have in the clutch recently).

A handshake was not nearly enough to represent the giddiness in Pierce, kid Rondo the point guard, Sam Cassell, or anyone else that says “ubuntu” at the end of a team huddle. Only one reaction was fitting for this occasion, and it was what Rivers offered to the Truth- a hug- a long, sweaty, enthusiastic hug. It was one of the moments that show how powerful a victory can be. Kevin Garnett, the most fierce competitor in the league, let out tears of joy on the court.

When John Havlicek handed the Eastern Conference Championship Trophy over to his former team, chants of “Beat LA!” rang through the room. Los Angeles native and former diehard Lakers fan Paul Pierce started it, and it caught on quickly. Although most fans in New England see Pierce’s statement as an obvious solution, not nearly as many people west of the Mass Pike or south of Connecticut feel the same way. The Lakers are heavy favorites early in gambling and predictions of the experts as well.’s NBA analysts have a variety of backgrounds. Some are former players, others fomer coaches, and some are avid fans and students of the game. They have often vehemently disagreed, but their choice for this year’s NBA Champion is unanimous. When all is said and done, they all believe the Los Angeles Lakers will come out on top.

Considering the way the Lakers have dismantled their opponents, this should come as no surprise. Kobe Bryant continued his regular season dominance this year through L.A.’s last game on Thursday. Twice in one series and against the defending world champs nonetheless, he brought his team back from a double digit deficit to win a game. Since Pau Gasol joined the team just before the trade deadline, Phil Jackson & Co. have set expectations for greatness, and have seen equal results.

The gripe many New England fans may have with any pro-Laker or anti-Celtic sentiment isn’t necessarily unwarranted or biased. Although anyone who watched the Celtics in the days of Bird, Dennis Johnson, Kevin McHale, and Robert Parrish may have an inherent hate for Purple and Gold, those games happened two decades ago. There are plenty of fans who have grown up only knowing the C’s as losers. I happen to be one of them.

The most legitimate case one can make for any Boston resentment for the national or west coast media is this: almost no one is giving the Celtics a chance, especially not Every single prediction there has a Lakers logo next to it, and only one analyst, ESPN Magazine writer Chris Broussard, has the Finals going to seven games. Although the Lakers may have an infinitely better coach, a player who can single-handedly take over games, and the defending champs as just another notch on their belt, there are some strong arguments to be made for the franchise who has more championships, 16, than any other organization in Basketball (even the Lakers) to be NBA champs.

The Celtics went into the Eastern Conference Finals as the favorite, but not by a very large margin. The Detroit Pistons had been to that round of the playoffs each of the five years before this season. They had been to the finals multiple times, and won a championship over a stacked Lakers team (including eventual Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal, Kobe Bryant, Karl Malone, and Gary Payton). They had the second best record in the league, so this year’s squad was no different from the other dominant ones.

Boston had not won a road game in the playoffs despite having the best regular season record in that category, and they had no big comeback victories in the playoffs to that point. Despite advancing past the first two rounds of the post-season, there were plenty of questions regarding the team’s play. It seemed that more questions reared their ugly heads as the playoffs went on.

The C’s answered many questions with their play at certain points in the series. They won not one but two games on the road. The Palace at Auburn Hills is one of the hardest places for opposing players to play, whether it is because of the Barber who used to sit behind the visitors’ bench and heckle the players, Mason, the emphatic MC and Public Address Announcer, or simply the passion and pressure of the packed arena. Their first win came after their first home loss of the playoffs, showing the resiliency any championship-caliber team needs to have to earn that name. The Celts never looked back after a fast start and won Game 3 by 14 points. Their second and even more impressive road victory came in Game 6, when they came back from 10 points down in the fourth quarter to clinch the series on Piston’s parquet.

The Boston Celtics won Game 6 and the Eastern Conference Championship much like any other team: their preparation, strong defense, and willingness to work together got them the W. The one thing they have on East Champs, however, is their passion for the game. Pierce, Garnett, and Ray Allen have all shown that at times throughout their long careers in basketball, but those times came much more frequently this season. Three men mired in team-wide futility most of their time now have a solid supporting cast. Every member of that team has a common purpose: to play for the good of the team. It’s what their chant is all about. That mindset, which is fueled by their passion, is exactly what will give them a shot against the Lakers in the NBA Finals.

With the way they’ve played this year, the Celts are no true underdog. Although the teams have changed drastically since the heyday of their rivalry, history is still on Boston’s side. They are 8-2 against Los Angeles all-time in Finals series victories. The Lakers may appear to have the better team on paper, but there is a reason the NBA Finals are played out. We’ll have to wait and see what tricks Red Auerbach has up his sleeve this time.

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